Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds even Saturday to win the EverStart Series Northern Division event on Smith Mountain Lake with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 48 pounds, 15 ounces. For his victory, Nelson earned $32,555.
“I feel great right now,” said Nelson, who was fishing his first tournament in EverStart competition. “Today was really a struggle. I didn’t catch my kicker fish until five minutes before I had to weigh-in. It was a 3½ -pounder, and ended up being the difference maker for me.”
Nelson targeted bedding fish throughout the week, and said that 14 of the 15 bass that he weighed in came off of beds.
“The full moon really helped and kept the big females on the beds,” he said. “The toughest part of the tournament was managing the fish. I wanted to save some fish each day for the next, but it was nerve wracking knowing that another tournament competitor could find the fish that you were saving.”
Nelson threw a variety of flipping baits throughout the week, including a Zoom Speed Craw, a Poor Boy’s Erie Darter and a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. His lone non-sight fishing bass came on a sexy shad-colored Strike King KVD spinnerbait.
“It was my first time ever visiting the lake,” Nelson continued. “My goal coming in to this event was to try to find the smallmouth, because I believed that I could fill out a nice limit with those.”
Nelson weighed in a five-bass limit consisting entirely of smallmouth on day one, and four more smallmouth bass throughout the week. He looked for beds mainly in the Roanoke and Blackwater Arms and caught all of his fish from those two areas.
“I’ve won some other tournaments, but this is the biggest win of my career,” Nelson said. “I’m registered for all of the EverStart Northern division tournaments, and I’m looking forward to a successful season.”
The top 10 pros on Smith Mountain Lake were:
1st: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 15 bass, 48-15, $32,555
2nd: Joseph Wood, Westport, Mass., 15 bass, 48-4, $12,208
3rd: Chris Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 15 bass, 46-2, $8,139
4th: Derik Hudson, Hurt, Va., 15 bass, 45-13, $7,325
5th: Castrol pro Philip Jarabeck, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 44-12, $6,511
6th: Donald Sheffey Jr., Concord, Va., 15 bass, 44-11, $5,697
7th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 15 bass, 43-7, $4,883
8th: Luke Nichols, Moneta, Va., 15 bass, 41-13, $4,069
9th: Matt Stoupa, Colonial Heights, Va., 14 bass, 38-12, $3,256
10th: Russ Simpson, Charleston, W.Va., 12 bass, 34-6, $2,442
Wood and Jami Pierce of Leland, N.C., both caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro division, Wood on Thursday and Pierce on Friday. Each weighed in a 5-pound, 10-ounce bass that earned them the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $228.
Scott Howard of Evington, Va., won the Co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 28 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Smith Mountain Lake were:
1st: Scott Howard, Evington, Va., 13 bass, 28-15, Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: Manuel Cruz, Clifton, N.J., 13 bass, 27-10, $4,271
3rd: Dennis Burdette, Lindside, W. Va., 12 bass, 27-4, $3,417
4th: Josh Demaury, Troutville, Va., 11 bass, 24-0, $2,990
5th: Brent Chapman, Union Hall, Va., 11 bass, 23-3, $2,563
6th: Tim Cales, Sandstone, W. Va., nine bass, 21-0, $2,136
7th: Chris Schomaker, Pineville, W. Va., 11 bass, 20-4, $1,709
8th: Dereck Bigford, Cicero, N.Y., eight bass, 19-15, $1,281
9th: Wil Dieffenbauch, Hundred, W. Va., nine bass, 17-12, $854
10th: Justin Hicks, Roanoke, Va., seven bass, 15-5, $683
Thomas McDermott of Madison, N.C., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler division Thursday – a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $152.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.
The next EverStart Series Northern Division tournament will be June 20-22 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Md., and will be presented by Evinrude.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors